A Stranger in The House

Sleeve Summary: Karen Krupp was home making dinner for her husband. She was expecting him any second. The phone rang – it was the call she hoped she’d never get. She jumped in her car and raced to a neighborhood she thought she’d never visit. She peered into the dark, deserted building and braced herself for the worst.

After that , she remembered nothing.

They told her husband , Tom, she’d been in an accident. She must have lost control of her car as she sped through the roughest part of town.

The police suspect that Karen was up to no good. Bud her husband refuses to believe it. Her best friend is not so sure. And even Karen herself doesn’t know what to believe.

Then she realizes something in her house has been moved. Someone’s been there. And now, everyone is a stranger. Everyone has a secret – one they might even kill for.

 

My thoughts: I may be a little bias because Shari Lapena is my favorite author but like all her other books this one kept me turning the pages. I love that just when you think you know who the “bad guy” is in the story she switches it up on you in the end. For the entire story, I thought I knew definitely who the bad guy was and when I got to the last chapter I was wrong! It starts off easy enough but then when Karen and Toms past come back to haunt them it turns into a big mess. But then Brigid who turns out to be anything other than Karen best friend becomes an easy way out for Karen’s perfect plan. Karen thinks she has devised the perfect plan to make sure that it doesn’t come back to haunt her but she was wrong. When her past finds her she is determined to not let it ruin what she has built with Tom. But soon she finds out her past isn’t the only thing trying to ruin her relationship with Tom. Now she has two situations to deal with and she comes up with the perfect plan to make sure they both go away. The way Karen forges these two dilemmas into the perfect solution for both problems just shows you how smart she is.

BLUM

It started with a pop-up event in December 2018, and Lexis and I were hooked as we patiently waited for the opening of our new favorite coffee shop. Okay, maybe not patiently,  it more like lots of checking for updates on Instagram and definitely some messages trying to find out first when the much-anticipated opening would be. Fast forward to 4th of July (day of soft opening) and to say I was excited is an understatement. It’s finally open guys!!

Let me tell you about it! First of all, it is located in the Paradox bldg. on Broadway. The shop is very spacious with plenty of seating. It’s quiet enough for studying or reading a book. While there we also saw small meetings taking place and also other people working. Of course the coffee is amazing, but don’t forget to also grab a bag of coffee beans to take home with you so you can enjoy great coffee at home. My personal favorite is Peru Rutas Del Inca Cutervillo, but they are all great! Also, don’t forget to save your glass to go cup and bring it by the next time you stop in.

Blum Coffee and Tea

8522 Broadway St

San Antonio, TX 78217

THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR

Title: The Couple Next Door

Author: Shari Lapena

 

Sleeve Summary: Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all-a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one hot summer night they are invited to a dinner party next door, and a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.  Inside the Contis’ curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family- a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My summary: What was supposed to be a fun night out without the baby turned into the worst night of the Contis’ life. They were just going next door, it wasn’t going to be that long, they would check on her every couple of hours, she would be fine. That’s what these first time parents thought when they went to the neighbors house for dinner. When they returned home to find their precious baby taken out of their own home they were devastated. But nothing could prepare them for the worst days of their lives. Every time you thought you knew who was behind the kidnapping the author would throw in a new twist. This book will definitely keep you thinking and trying to put the clues together right up until the end and you will be in for a surprise. You will be surprised at the ending, you could have never guessed who is behind the unraveling of an entire family.

Tripoli’s Coffee Shop

We found this place on lazy Sunday afternoon when we didn’t want to go too far from home. And to say we were impressed is an understatement. We instantly fell in love with all this shop has to offer including a Mediterranean grill. I can’t say enough about this place it is nice and quiet so you can do work or read if you choose to do so or you can sit by the window and people watch.

The shop is very inviting and the staff is great. On top of that the shop was spacious with lots of seating both couches to relax on and a huge table to work on. The best part of all is they have plenty of space and activities for kids! My younger kids who usually don’t go with us to coffee shops had a blast and played the whole time we were there. The shop is located in a shopping strip off of Valley Hi so there is plenty of parking and it’s pretty easy to get to. The best part is of course their Nutella Latte! It is a must try especially if you love Nutella. We will definitely be spending lots of time here since it’s not only offers great variety but it’s also so close to home.

Tripoli’s Mediterranean Grill and Coffee Shop

322 Valley Hi Drive

San Antonio, TX 78227

An Anonymous Girl

Authors: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Synopsis: Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

My Thoughts: If you read the Wife Between Us and enjoyed it you will love this book as well! It starts off kind of slow in the beginning but as the details of Dr. Shields life come into play it starts to really get interesting. Just when you think you have a good idea about what is to come next for Jessica, Dr. Shields throws you for a loop. But then as Jessica finds out what she thinks are Dr. Shields true intentions with her and what has happened in Dr. Shields past with other “participants” of her study that’s when the fun really begins. And when Jessica tries to flip Dr. Shield game on her the tables will quickly turn. The ending will surprise you. This is a definite must read. I love these two authors together, they write some great books! If you have not read The Wife Between Us you need to!

Rosella

Rosella on Jones 1

I first heard about Rosella right before Charles Gonzales left his job as a part time newscaster. They aired a segment explaining why he was retiring. Then to be honest I completely forgot about it. That was until the San Antonio Coffee Festival, where I tried their coffee for the first time. I tried it straight black with no creamer or sugar, (since dairy and my face don’t get along) and it tasted great. I don’t usually like black coffee but I was actually surprised how good the coffee tasted without anything in it. I was sold.

 

We visited the Rosella on Jones Ave and I was beautiful. There is plenty of seating inside and also plenty of seating outside. There is also a loft area upstairs with a good amount of seating. We have taken family from Dallas to Rosella and they also loved it. It is a great place to sit and work or to have great conversations over coffee with some friends. There is also plenty of free street parking along the building.

We most defiantly look forward to visiting Rosella at the Rand and we are most excited about trying Rosella at the Garden.

Rosella on Jones

203 E Jones Ave #101

San Antonio, Tx 78215

How To Be A Good Wife

Author:  Emma Chapman

Sleeve Summary: Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after college. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife-as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector’s aloof mother on their wedding day. But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can’t recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember-or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta’s visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it’s unclear if the danger lies in the world around her or in Marta herself. The girl is becoming more real everyday, and she wants something…. Chilling and page-turning, How To Be A Good Wife unravels with unnerving precision and compelling uncertainty, introducing a tremendous new talent in psychological fiction.

 

My thoughts: This book kept me thinking through out the whole time. I would think that I knew what was real and what wasn’t then the author would throw something in there that would throw me for a loop. Just when I thought I had figured it out and thought that it was Marta’s imagination playing tricks on her the very next sentence would have me thinking that maybe what she was experiencing was real. EEEK! It kept me going back and fourth through out the whole book, even when I got to the end I was still conflicted about if I believed Marta or Hector. To be honest in the beginning of the book I was a little bored because I thought that Marta was just a crazy person who was off her meds and just imagining things, but as I got deeper into the book and she started piecing together her past with what she was imaging it all started to come together. At the end, I still wasn’t sure who to believe but I was such a sad ending.

Barrio Barista

barrio 1

This is actually the first place we visited when we started our coffee shop journey. We instantly fell in love with this place because of it’s uniqueness. It is located on the West side of San Antonio on Culebra and when you first drive up to the shop it looks like and old house. Then you walk inside and it reminds me of an old tavern.

barrio 2

There is a bar where you can sit and drink your coffee and watch the barista work. There is also a lot of comfortable seating inside and plenty of seating outside. There is also Wi-Fi so you can work or just sit and just people watch. It’s nice and relaxing with music playing in the background and on the weekends seems to be pretty busy. They have plenty of drink options to choose from but best of all they have an awesome food menu to choose from as well. Their serving sizes are huge.

The owner of Barrio Barista, Mr. De Hoyos is a very sweet man he walks around and talks to customers to make sure they are doing okay. He has stopped by our table when we are there with my children to make sure they ate all their food. He has even given them cookies for finishing their food. He is super sweet as well as all the staff we have encountered at the shop.

barrio 3

The kids and I love this place and I’m sure you will too. Hope to see you there soon!

 

Barrio Barista

3735 Culebra Rd.

San Antonio, TX 78228

 

The Other Side of Everything

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Title: The Other Side Of Everything

Author: Lauren Doyle Owens

Jacket Summary: Bernard White is a widower who has lived in Seven Springs, Florida, for decades. When one of his neighbors is murdered, Bernard emerges from his solitude to reconnect with his fellow octogenarians, forging literal lifeline as a second, and then third, elderly woman is murdered. “The originals,” as they call themselves, realize that they are being targeted. Amy Unger is an artist and cancer survivor who emotional recovery has not been as successful as her physical one. After the woman next door is killed, she begins to paint imagined scenes from the murder in an effort to cope with her own loss. But when her paintings prove to be too realistic, her neighbors grow suspicious, and the murderer seeks to silence her. And then there’s Maddie Lowe, a fifteen-year-old waitress struggling to keep her family together in the wake of her mother’s abandonment. As Maddie tries to maintain the semblance of a normal teenage life, she finds herself drawn to the primary murder suspect. As they navigate their increasingly dangerous and tumultuous worlds, Bernard, Amy and Maddie begin to uncover the connections between them, and the past and present, in a novel that ultimately proves the power of tragedy to spark renewal.

My thoughts:  To be honest when I first started reading this book, I was so fascinated at the description of the murder. I was captivated really, but then when I continued reading and the author didn’t continue talking about the murder I was really disappointed. I wanted to know all the details about the murdered woman so I can figure out who killed her before the author even told us who did. As an avid crime show watcher, I thought I can figure this out just tell me about who her friends were, what happened the night that lead up to the murder, and I can figure this out. So when the next chapter was about her neighbors and what was going on in their lives I was a bit frustrated because I wanted to know more about Adel and later on Helen! But as time goes on you see how they all become part of each others stories. What I also took away from this book was how little we actually know about what is going on behind close doors of every character’s lives. Their personal struggles, how they fight their personal battles. Whether it be their health, their marital relationships, or their relationships with their parents or lack thereof. We truly don’t know what goes on in people’s lives behind close doors.

Dallas, TX

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Mudsmith

If you are in Dallas, TX you need to try this coffee shop! This cool coffee shop on Greenville Ave is a must try. They do have a second location in Dallas on Welborn.

They have coffee, tea, smoothies, and even a good food menu! We had a Breakfast Sammie, classic croissant and it was delicious! They have a great staff, plenty of parking in the rear of the building and most importantly plenty of indoor and some outdoor seating!

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It’s a great place to work for the day. They provide outlets at the tables indoor along the wall and they also have a big seating area in the rear for large parties so feel free to bring a group of friends to hang out and have a good time! This is definitely a place we will be returning to whenever we are in Dallas which will be quiet often since we have family there now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucky Dog Books

Also while in Dallas we were able to visit a used book store in East Dallas called Lucky Dog Books! It was an amazing bookstore with a knowledgeable staff. We go to the bookstore a little early so while we were waiting we started talking to a gentleman outside the store who was also waiting for the store to open and he had nothing but good things to say about the store and the staff.

 

The store itself was really neat and there were plenty of clearly posted signs and even a bookstore map which made it easy to find what you are interested in. The store is big with plenty of books to choose from. If you visit their website it will inform you of any sales going on at the time or anything upcoming.